Lord Justices Pill, Richards and Davis are to give their judgment into the closure by Brent Council of six of its 12 libraries at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London.
The judgment will be handed down at 2 pm in Court 72. Brent SOS Libraries appealed against a High Court judge’s decision that Brent’s closures were lawful at a two-day hearing on 10-11 November.
Dinah Rose QC argued on behalf of library users and Brent SOS Libraries Campaign that in deciding to close six libraries, the library had failed to prevent discrimination against groups such as Asians, young children and local school children, by neglecting to assess the impact on such groups.
Using the very same data that the council executive used to decide to close the libraries, Dinah Rose showed that 28% of Brent’s population is Asian and that 46% of active library users were Asian, so it was obvious that the closure of the libraries would disproportionately affect Asian council residents.
She also showed that the highest concentrations of Asian populations in the borough were concentrated around three libraries – Preston, Barham and Tokyngton – all of which were closed. She had evidence to show that since closure, the library that users of these three libraries were expected to use instead – Ealing Road – was overcrowded.
Meanwhile the Council Executive has twice deferred its consideration of a report on the redevelopment of Willesden Green Library which would mean its closure for two years and it has been revealed that the lease on Kingsbury Library Plus expires on September 2013. This work case scenario would leave only four fully-functioning libraries left.
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has since launched an inquiry into library closures to which the Save Preston Library Campaign, Brent SOS Libraries and library users from Brent will submit evidence.